Criminal charges brought against Victorian man over misleading newspaper advertisements

ASIC alleges that between 1 July 2010 and 13 November 2012, Grant Thorsby Ross placed newspaper advertisements in Victoria and South Australia offering the availability of loans dependent upon future superannuation entitlements.

When contacted by potential clients, Mr Ross (also known as David Thorsby Ross), former sole director of both Motabank (SA) Pty Ltd and Multimedia Marketing Pty Ltd (deregistered) allegedly promoted and operated a scheme facilitating the illegal early release of superannuation through the creation of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF’s).

ASIC further alleges that a ’round-robin’ scheme was operated by Mr Ross whereby his clients would transfer their superannuation funds into newly created SMSFs. The SMSF’s would loan funds to Mr Ross’ company and then an amount, less a fee, was loaned by either Mr Ross’s company or personally by Mr Ross back to the trustees of the SMSF in their personal capacity.

Mr Ross does not hold and has never been granted an Australian Financial Services Licence or an Australian Credit Licence.

ASIC’s investigation arose from an intelligence report lodged by the Australian Taxation Office, which raised concerns about Mr Ross’ conduct.

Mr Ross was charged with three counts of engaging in a credit activity without a licence by performing the obligations of a credit provider and being a credit provider under a credit contract. Mr Ross was also charged with one count of carrying on a financial services business without a licence by recommending to clients they dispose of their superannuation funds, which were then used to access loan funds.

The matter was administratively adjourned to the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 29 January 2016 at 10.00am.   The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting this matter.

Each charge in relation to carrying on a financial services business without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a potential fine of $34,000.

Each charge in relation to engaging in a credit activity without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a potential fine of $34,000.

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